Mother to two children, Leisa Goddard has her hands full as she carves a name for herself as a reformed (and occasionally relapsed) journo and media commentator turned PR entrepreneur who is taking Australia by the horns. Leisa is the Managing Director of PR and Digital Agency Adoni Media and has more than almost 30 years of experience working and presenting news and current affairs for Australia’s three commercial television networks including time as a foreign correspondent and war correspondent. Her award-winning agency has offices in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.
Leisa is a Force of Nature, who is hell bent on reimagining what a successful PR company can be. Brisbane was not enough for her insatiable appetite. In the last 18 months she has opened new offices for Adoni Media in Sydney and Perth – literally, spanning the country.
This is our chat with Leisa Goddard.
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur/start your business?
I think it had something to do with wine… A Shaw & Smith Sav Blanc to be exact… imbibed in a quiet Japanese restaurant in about 2014. I had already started my business but I wasn’t in charge. A chance meeting with a client – who is now a firm friend – encouraged me to look beyond the humble beginnings and aim high. It has taken a few years to get the necessary runs on the board, but business is booming now and it’s amazing.
Initially, what difficulties did you face?
There are so many challenges and growing pains for unwitting entrepreneurs that I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps Microsoft is as good a place as any to start… when you’ve been in a 20 year career in the media, you don’t have to worry about formatting. Spelling is important. Grammar, word choice are also important. But font size was not a big deal. Servicing corporate Australia initially seemed to be more about formatting than having something important to say. Thankfully, my early clients looked passed my font faux pas and saw the value a tried and true media professional could bring to the Board.
Who or what was integral to you overcoming these hurdles?
Honestly? Honesty. The secret to my ability to survive the hurdles was to spend time with people who spoke the truth and gave the advice panderers are all too afraid to speak out loud. There was a lot of toughening up in the early years.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I might have started this business earlier if I had had the courage to take that first leap… but then I would not have brought everything and everyone along for the ride.
What do you believe was the best decision you made in business?
Trusting my gut. I had no empirical evidence but I just knew that I was onto a good thing. So, I surrounded myself with people who helped me to show clients that it I was indeed breaking new ground.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
Be kinder. To yourself. To your family. To your clients. To your staff. To the idiot you just screamed at.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
It’s really not rocket science: Do what you say you will. Do it really well. Always tell the truth.
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
Most people unless I’m in heels. I’m inspired by powerful women who manage to wear the heels but also go barefoot when they can.
What was the best advice that you have been given?
Sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s practical when you’re actually parenting but equally useful when you’re just adulting. Rest and relax whenever you can. The pace of life in a startup can be mind altering.
How have you personally measured your success?
Gold is good, but shoes are more interesting. Poignant purchases made on the back of a job well done are particularly satisfying.
Do you have any tips for those struggling to gain a successful work life balance?
Choose wisely. Take the opportunities for balance as they present themselves and don’t fall for arbitrary deadlines – especially at beer o’clock on a Friday night!
When you think of your journey, what is the thing you are most proud of?
I may wear a full face of makeup for the cameras, but I’m the genuine article. There is no supercilious pandering.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Women can be our worst enemy. We say yes too often and simultaneously undervalue our time and our availability. We want to have it all so we accept all offers instead of weighing in when the offer is right.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
I look for women who support other women. I’m inspired by my peers who can stand on their head one day and wrestle a Chair to the ground (figuratively) the next. I don’t want “likes”. I need support from my tribe and I give the same in return.
Here’s where to connect with Leisa and Adoni Media.
Leisa is frequently travelling in several different directions concurrently. This makes her hard to pin down in person but easy to track using her social media platforms:
LinkedIn – Leisa Goddard
Facebook – Adoni Media